Vision in Action Spring 2019
I am delighted to be writing my first foreword for ‘Vision in Action’ as the new UKIVA Chairman. I would like to thank outgoing Chairman, Paul Wilson, for his many achievements. We have worked closely together over the past two years and we both have a great sense of pride in helping to make UKIVA’s Machine Vision Conference & Exhibition a reality, with the backing of the team at the PPMA, especially event organiser, Chris Valdes. This year’s event will take place at the Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes on June 6th and all of the indications are that it will be bigger and better than ever. I’d also like to welcome Neil Sandhu from Sick (UK) as UKIVA’s new Vice-Chairman.
At the recent UKIVA members’ meeting, many reported a growing number of enquiries over recent months rather than the slump that might have been expected given the continuing uncertainty over Brexit. The consensus of opinion was that UK firms, who have been behind the curve in terms of investment in automation and Industry 4.0, are now pushing ahead with plans for automation and embracing Industry 4.0. They have realised that to not invest would be more risky compared with the possibility of having insufficient labour as a consequence of the change in migration patterns to the UK since 2016. These show a downturn in migration from Europe and an increase in migration from Asia. The UK has a high overall level of employment, so this change in demographic could affect the available workforce pool for manufacturing. Even a small change in this may impact the opportunities for UK manufacturing to grow, or even just maintain status-quo based on current working practices. Moving towards increased automation and preparing for Industry 4.0 would not only improve productivity in the short term but also stand us in good stead for whatever markets the UK operates in post-Brexit. These preliminary indications look good for the UK machine vision industry to help UK manufacturing continue to grow in the coming years.
Allan Anderson, UKIVA Chairman